Advancing Youth Financial Inclusion to Boost Job Creation and Growth in the Mediterranean Region

10 June 2021. From 10:30  To 12:00 | Conference | English | French | Online
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Young people (15-24 years old) are making up a significant share of the population in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries where the median age is under 30 years old. This young population, despite having access to education, is facing a dire shortage of economic opportunities. This insecurity has been considerably aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the curtail of socioeconomic activities affecting primarily youth, especially within the informal economy.  

When transitioning to adulthood, access to finance plays a key role. Whether it be for accessing higher studies and training, receiving state social allowances, housing, launching a business, or saving for the future, financial services are a crucial enabler for the empowerment, well-being and sustainable livelihood of the youth, allowing them to be the engines of the economic development of their societies.  

Yet, youth are often excluded from access to formal financial services. This is particularly true in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries: according to the Global Findex 2017, only 32% of the young adults of the MENA region are financially included, being the lowest rate worldwide. In addition, the gender gap is significantly higher in the MENA region than in any region of the world, with young women experiencing a double discrimination in access to finance. Removing obstacles and promoting youth financial inclusion could definitely contribute to advance the human and socioeconomic development of Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries.  

Against this background, the MED Confederation, the alliance of Euro-Mediterranean institutions and organisations promoting socioeconomic cooperation in the Mediterranean region, is dedicating a second webinar to the topic of financial inclusion, focusing on youth as an under-served segment, yet crucial for the socioeconomic development of the countries of the region. In collaboration with the Financial Inclusion for the Arab Region Initiative (FIARI), this event intends to shed light on the specific obstacles that the youth is facing to access finance, notably considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while devising tailored actions, policies and legislative measures that can lead to improvements. Best practices and successful examples will be highlighted by the panelists who will debate the opportunities brought about by digital tools to reduce the financial exclusion of youth in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. A special emphasis will be put on ways to enhance financial literacy as a sine qua none condition to empower young users of financial services. 



Chris De Noose

President MED Confederation

Habib Attia

Senior Advisor AMF

Ingrid Schwaiger

Deputy Head of Unit DG Near

Wissam H. Fattouh

Secretary General UAB

Fatima Zahra Aziz

Executive Director FMEF

Mais Sha’ban

Research Fellow EMEA